Swannanoa Preschool - 08/09/2015

1 Evaluation of Swannanoa Preschool

How well placed is Swannanoa Preschool to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Swannanoa Preschool is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


The preschool is a community-based, not for profit, early childhood education and care centre. It is governed by a parent-elected board. The centre manager guides the day-to-day operation of the centre. Team leaders in each area are responsible for the curriculum. The ratio of teachers to children is higher than the minimum requirement. Most staff are qualified teachers.

The preschool is very spacious, attractively presented and well resourced. It caters for the learning and wellbeing of children from birth to five years old, in three separate learning areas. This includes two whānau groupings of children aged two to five years of age and an under two-year-old area.

Staff embrace parent, whānau and community involvement in the life of the centre, learning programme, and environment, for example, the communal garden and centre library. The preschool is located on the local school grounds and has established strong links with the school.

The preschool has been very responsive to the recommendations from the previous ERO review in March 2014. Very good use has been made of professional development to: clarify governance and management responsibilities and systems; improve teaching practices and curriculum documentation; review and develop a shared centre philosophy; improve self-review processes.

The Review Findings

The preschool philosophy reflects the learning priorities, and beliefs of its community. These are strongly evident in the way staff warmly welcome children and families, foster respectful and inclusive, relationships and nurture children's sense of belonging.

Teachers are responsive to children's interests, strengths and abilities. They encourage children to be independent, have respect for themselves, and show kindness and care for others. Well-presented learning areas inspire children's curiosity, exploration and creativity. Literacy and numeracy activities are naturally integrated into play-based learning experiences.

Children's oral language and communication skills are well supported and nurtured. Teachers are responsive to children's verbal and non-verbal communication. They value and encourage children's ideas and spend time talking with children to develop language and deeper levels of discussion.

Increasing use of a range of technologies are helping children to inquire into their thinking and express their ideas.

Teachers work collaboratively with parents and whānau. They actively seek parent and whānau views, aspirations, and expectations for their children's learning. Parents and whānau are well informed of children's interests and participation in the programmes through purposefully presented learning stories and wall displays.

The individual needs and preference of infants and toddlers are well supported. The teaching team are caring, consistent and sensitive to children's needs. Teachers work closely with families to provide interactions and care routines that are respectful, predictable and well paced.

Infants and toddlers have many opportunities to explore the natural environment and participate in physical and creative experiences with and alongside others.

Teachers encourage a sense of continuity with children's learning. Transitions into the preschool and between rooms are collaborative, personalised and responsive to the individual child and family needs. Children are well supported to make a positive transition to school.

The preschool acknowledges Maori as tangata whenua and is committed to the ongoing development of Te Tiriti o Waitangi-based partnerships. Teachers are increasingly integrating bicultural perspectives in ways that are respectful of te ao Maori within the programme, practices and the environment.

The preschool has a strong focus on providing positive outcomes for all children. Teachers respect the diversity and abilities of children and encourage them to participate and succeed in their learning. The board provides funding to support children with additional needs, for example, a speech therapist to support oral language.

The board and centre manager work well together. They have established useful systems to sustain and extend on the effective management of the service. Centre leaders build on the capability of others, increasing teacher expertise and leadership skills.

There is a strong focus on promoting improvement at all levels of the service. Extensive professional development and strong leadership has enabled the teaching team to work to build consistency and align to clear expectations. This includes significant progress in the development of reflective teaching practices, self review and appraisal processes.

Key Next Steps

The board, manager, and leadership team have worked hard to establish new management and curriculum processes to provide positive outcomes for children and families. The key next steps are to continue to review and embed:

  • strategic and annual action planning to help manage key service priorities over time
  • self review understandings and practices across the teaching team
  • appraisal and performance management processes
  • assessment, programme planning and evaluation
  • bicultural and te ao Maori perspectives, understandings and practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Swannanoa Preschool completed an ERO Centre Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • curriculum
  • premises and facilities
  • health and safety practices
  • governance, management and administration.

During the review, ERO looked at the service's systems for managing the following areas that have a potentially high impact on children's wellbeing:

  • emotional safety (including positive guidance and child protection)

  • physical safety (including supervision; sleep procedures; accidents; medication; hygiene; excursion policies and procedures)

  • suitable staffing (including qualification levels; police vetting; teacher registration; ratios)

  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

All early childhood services are required to promote children's health and safety and to regularly review their compliance with legal requirements.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Swannanoa Preschool will be in three years.

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

8 September 2015

The Purpose of ERO Reports

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the government department that, as part of its work, reviews early childhood services throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. ERO’s reports provide information for parents and communities about each service’s strengths and next steps for development. ERO’s bicultural evaluation framework Ngā Pou Here is described in SECTION 3 of this report. Early childhood services are partners in the review process and are expected to make use of the review findings to enhance children's wellbeing and learning.

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

100 children, including up to 20 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 83; Boys 70

Ethnic composition



Other Ethnicities




Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

8 September 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2014

Education Review

October 2010

Education Review

May 2007

3 General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

ERO’s Evaluation Framework

ERO’s overarching question for an early childhood education review is ‘How well placed is this service to promote positive learning outcomes for children?’ ERO focuses on the following factors as described in the bicultural framework Ngā Pou Here:

Pou Whakahaere – how the service determines its vision, philosophy and direction to ensure positive outcomes for children

Pou Ārahi – how leadership is enacted to enhance positive outcomes for children

Mātauranga – whose knowledge is valued and how the curriculum is designed to achieve positive outcomes for children

Tikanga whakaako – how approaches to teaching and learning respond to diversity and support positive outcomes for children.

Within these areas ERO considers the effectiveness of arotake – self review and of whanaungatanga – partnerships with parents and whānau.

ERO evaluates how well placed a service is to sustain good practice and make ongoing improvements for the benefit of all children at the service.

A focus for the government is that all children, especially priority learners, have an opportunity to benefit from quality early childhood education. ERO will report on how well each service promotes positive outcomes for all children, with a focus on children who are Māori, Pacific, have diverse needs, and are up to the age of two.

For more information about the framework and Ngā Pou Here refer to ERO’s Approach to Review in Early Childhood Services.

ERO’s Overall Judgement and Next Review

The overall judgement that ERO makes and the timing of the next review will depend on how well placed a service is to promote positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed – The next ERO review in four years
  • Well placed – The next ERO review in three years
  • Requires further development – The next ERO review within two years
  • Not well placed - The next ERO review in consultation with the Ministry of Education

ERO has developed criteria for each category. These are available on ERO’s website.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews are tailored to each service’s context and performance, within the overarching review framework. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.